This form of arthritis occurs when uric acid crystals form in a joint and cause inflammation.
Gout is a form of arthritis that is usually caused by excessive uric acid in the blood. This is called hyperuricemia.
The exact cause of gout is not known. Most cases of gout are related to a decrease in the kidney's ability to get rid of the uric acid made by the body. Attacks of gout may be triggered by:
Gout usually affects one joint at a time, often the joint at the base of the big toe. Joints in the knees, ankles, feet, elbows or hands can also be affected. Acute gout attacks normally last about a week. During an acute attack, affected joints can become:
Some people can also develop a moderate fever or the chills during an attack.
Sometimes gout attacks get better on their own. Unfortunately, more attacks typically follow within the next few months or years.
Diagnosing gout early is important to:
Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the above symptoms. He or she will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. They may order lab tests and possibly remove fluid from an affected joint.
There is no cure for gout. The condition can usually be controlled through:
Make sure you tell your provider if you have other health problems, such as cardiac disease or gastrointestinal problems.
Prevention of acute attacks is the focus of managing gout. The goals of treatment are to:
If you believe you may have gout, contact your healthcare provider. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and how long you have had them.
Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider.
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